killing off Napster, but has waged war against BitTorrent and others ever since. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has waged a similar battle, reportedly costing the film industry more than piracy itself does.Ever since peer-to-peer file-sharing technology became popularized, it has been a thorn in the side of the companies who have traditionally profited from the distribution of entertainment-related content. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) succeeded in
As vilified as file-sharing has historically been, the practice has been gaining favor in somewhat unexpected places lately. The Songwriter's Association of Canada recently threw its support behind the idea of legalizing file-sharing and finding ways to monetize the practice, rather than cracking down on it through legal means.
While the 1,500 artist-strong SAC isn't quite as big as the RIAA, the organization represents some big name acts in Canada and is striking a decidedly different tone than its American counterpart.
"Music file-sharing is a vibrant, open, global distribution system for music of all kinds, and presents a tremendous opportunity to both creators and rights-holders," the organization stated in a proposal. "Additionally, once a fair and reasonable monetization system is in place, all stakeholders including consumers and Internet service providers will benefit substantially."
The news comes shortly after the Swiss government released a report saying that illegal file-sharing isn't a big enough problem to justify cracking down on it as harshly as is being proposed in other European countries.
Canadian songwriters are not advocating a stance quite as hands-off as that, but they do think that file-sharing ought be viewed as an opportunity for artists rather than a threat.
Still, there remains the issue of how the Internet is going to ensure that artists are properly compensated. That is still very much being ironed out. It may well be that in the long run, artists don't profit as much as they once did from selling recorded music and instead have to focus their efforts on bringing in revenue through other means. Even through legal and record label-approved means like Spotify, artists have yet to see a significant financial gain from participating.